At KitGuru when we test graphics cards we try our best to build a test system that suits the intended target audience. As an example when we reviewed the HIS 5770 Ice Q 5 we paired it with a budget level Athlon II 255 CPU and an entry level AM3 motherboard. Since the 5850 is a more powerful card our test system will be built using a Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H v2.0 Crossfire ready motherboard and an overclocked HexaCore AMD Phenom II X6 1055T processor running at 3.5 GHz. Our OS drive in this build is a 64GB Kingston V-Series Rev2 SSD and files are stored on a 500 GB WD SATA II drive.
The test system is built from scratch with a fresh Windows 7 Professional install, all patches have been installed via Windows Update. We have chosen to use our Asus 5850 as a reference model in this review. All of our testing will include results from both cards generated by what speed they are clocked to out of the box.
Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H v2.0
HexaCore AMD Phenom II X6 1055T
HIS 5850 Turbo 1GB PCI-e 765/1125 MHz
Asus EAH5850 1GB PCI-e 725/1000 MHz
8GB G Skill DDR III 1600
Corsair HX850 modular PSU (80 Plus Silver rating)
NZXT Phantom Full Tower
Kingston 64 GB V-Series SSD (OS drive)
Western Digital 500 GB SATA II(Storage)
LG 16X DVDRW optical drive
Samsung SyncMaster 245BW
Windows 7 Professional x64
FRAPS Professional x64
Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
Aliens vs Predator
Far Cry 2
Left 4 Dead 2
All the latest bios updates and drivers are used during testing. We perform under real world conditions, meaning KitGuru test all games across five closely matched runs and average out the results to get an accurate median figure.
Our minimum frame rate game graphs have three main zones. These are sampled over a specific 30 interval period of time and then mapped into a chart. These are handy reference guides to detail worst case performance of the product being reviewed. When we test video cards we try to find the best combination of resolution and image quality settings while still maintaining playable frame rates.
Over 30fps is the zone most people want at all times, this means perfectly smooth frame rates with no hitching.
Between 30fps and 25fps is the KitGuru ‘Playable’ zone, although some people might notice occasional stuttering in specific scenes.
Under 25fps is classed as the KitGuru ‘Danger Zone’ which means that the game experience will be less than impressive. Settings and/or resolution would need lowered to help smooth out the frame rate.